A citation is the entire textual reference to the source.
You just want to explore your family tree, so why bother with all of this academic nonsense, right?
If you are just using Gramps to draw a quick family tree, then perhaps there is no need to bother with citations.
But if you want to share your family tree with other people, citations let you record how you know these things, and this record may last longer than you are around to explain.
Creating detailed citations can be time-intensive and may seem to be a distraction from your research, but you will find the investment pays off later.
A simple family tree can be a little dry, but linking to related documents helps you embellish your family story.
And if you are like me, you may need a little help remembering how you came to some conclusion some months ago.
In order of importance:
- Citations help provide evidence of the conclusions (or 'facts') in your tree
- A citation should enable another researcher to easily identify the precise material you are referencing and how you came to some conclusion
- Citations should be as simple as possible to record while still being precise. Don't waste time on extensive detail if you won't continue to be so thorough.
- Record a citation as soon as you can, before you forget or lose the details
- Adopt a good style early on to avoid rework later - you will probably never bother to fix hundreds of sloppy references
- Provide citations for as much of your tree as you can.
- Record your references in a way that will still be relevant in many years. URLs are useful now but don't last.
- Be consistent in your citations
- Even a short or sloppy citation is better than no citation
- Follow citation style guides if you can. A lot of thought has gone into what to record.
If you are just starting with your family tree, then you will probably want to just get started recording people and events in your tree. After a while, start adding citations to your tree. Then before you have gone too far with recording citations, occasionally review your citation style and consider how it might be when your tree is much larger and used by someone else.
Sources, Repositories and Citations
Using Gramps Citations
|One of the most important fields, together with Citation Volume/Page. This should ensure the source can be uniquely identified.
|Let Gramps auto-populate this
|Media Type (not shared)
|Call number (not shared)
|This is a finding aid, to help locate the source within a given repository. (There is no equivalent mechanism to help locate a citation within the repository, which is relevant where the source is multi-volume or electronic.) How to handle web repositories?
|Is this intended to be the event date, document publication date or date that I reviewed the source?
|Let Gramps auto-populate this
|One of the most important fields, together with Source Title. This should ensure that the relevant part within the source can be readily identified.
|Normally just the default. You may want to set this to 'Low' or 'Very Low' if you are not sure this is the right family
Citing online evidence
- Citation examples:Discussion with a relative
- Citation examples:Family Bible
- Citation examples:Birth, marriage and death certificates
- Citation examples:England Census
- Citation examples:US Census
- Citation examples:FamilySearch
- Citation examples:Ancestry.com records
- Citation examples:Ancestry.com records without citation (Cambridge Alumni)
- Citation examples:Newspaper clipping
- Citation examples:Newspaper Archive
- Citation examples:Multi-volume parish registers
- Citation examples:Census records spanning pages
- Citation examples:Census records spanning addresses
- Citation examples:Imported GEDCOM file
- Citation examples:Reusing 2nd-hand citations
- Citations category introduction